Sunday, November 30, 2014

11/24/2014 - In Which ShelbyPooh Feasts Upon the Words of Christ

Hey Y'all :)

This week was kinda a rough one... We had three conferences technically... Haha so our numbers weren't very high this week :/ but it was still good in a lot of ways! Monday night we had a lesson with our investigator Monica who is coming to church but not keeping her commitments. Me and Sis. Perrins felt really strongly to make baptism and receiving the gift of the holy Ghost more important than we have been with her. We wanted her to really commit to it, especially cuz it would be an awesome Christmas gift to get this Christmas! :) So we watched The Restoration video with her and she really felt the spirit and then we talked about the holy ghost and she really opened up about some things and felt like she knew for a while that this path she is on is what Heavenly Father wants her to do and He is helping her turn her life around for the better and for her daughters so that they don't have to go through the same things she has gone through. So she got emotional and the spirit was so strong and we invited her to pray with us there to ask Heavenly Father if her getting baptized is right for her to do in the next month. We said we wanted her to continue to do that and then hopefully by next time we visit her and teach her we'll have her on a date to be baptized!! :) So that went really well! 

Tuesday we tracted a lot! Our teaching pool is really small right now so we're trying to go find those people that are prepared to hear the gospel! Tracting is not my favorite and it's hard for me to teach and testify someone right on their doorstep, but I'm still trying to get better at it and I'm learning to love it! Except.... that day was rough. I got my first real bash with this one man and I felt very overwhelmed and felt like I wanted to cry when we were done. Haha everyone is so knowledgeable with the Bible and so when people start to argue you immediately feel the spirit leave and it's just awful. Ha While we were out though on Tuesday during the day we visited a member but then went out and were walking out of the neighborhood and saw this one lady who was going on a walk when it was pretty cold out! We stopped and talked with her and she was super friendly, her name was Suzanne, and she knew about the missionaries cuz she's had some come by before and talk with her. She lives alone but she is from Montreal Canada and is going to a Methodist church. And she is French-Canadian and was a hoot! I was pretty impressed with myself because after talking with her a bit she then brought up, "All of the missionaries I meet are so gorgeous! Even the boys! But you ladies... ahhh you are so gorgeous! I want to know what you eat?!" So I set myself up for a good comeback.... I held up my Book of Mormon and said, "Suzanne... We 'feast' upon the words of Christ." ;) and Sister Perrins busted up laughing and Suzanne was laughing and was like yeah I have one of those books but I'll have to read it again. So I felt pretty great after that visit ;) haha 

Wednesday during the afternoon we helped a member who just recently got home from her mission in Italy actually make some real Italian pasta for a young women activity that we actually got invited to speak at as well. Then after we helped her we went to a members home to do a practice lesson, or role-play with her. Doing that with the members is really great! I've gained a greater appreciation for role-playing and member visits cuz it prepares me for when I actually get to teach investigators or go tracting! :) So then we had Young Womens that night and talked about the day in the life of a missionary again kinda like what we did with the activity day girls. But we had other members come and talk about their missions and stuff so it was fun! One member served in the Utah Temple Square mission and brought all types of Jello with her for the girls to eat ;) haha I hadn't had Jello since I got here! So it was yummy and I miss Utah Jello... haha Everyone in this ward is either from Utah, has family in Utah, went to BYU, or are BYU fans and so I really feel like Heavenly Father knew I would love Suwanee because of all the members and the connection I have with them! ;) 

Thursday I had my first zone conference! It was a long day but it was great and really inspiring! I always learn a lot from these conferences and so I'm really grateful for them :) But just a heads up there is something that the church is bringing up and doing for Christmas... I literally had tears in my eyes when they introduced it to us. It takes effect on the 28th of November so look up when you have the chance... ;) It's incredible, I'm so excited for it!! But anyway then the rest of the day was kinda basic. Btw... we had fried chicken/some kind of chicken dish for 4 nights in a row... if that doesn't explain the south, I don't know what does y'all. 

Friday I had another meeting! It was the one month follow up meeting with everyone that I came out with! I got to see all my MTC friends!! :D It was awesome, I missed all of them and they are all doing great! so once again, the meeting was just inspiring as always and I learn so much so I can't wait to put the things that I've learned into affect this next week! Then we had lunch and then we tracted and we actually might have a couple potentials from our tracting on Friday... We met a 32 year old named Sabrina who happened to be at her mother's house helping her paint when we knocked on the door and she was a major Baptist church minister/ into ministry or something but left her church feeling as if God was calling her into doing something else. We barely met her but she started opening up to us and started crying and kept saying "I don't know why I'm crying, I barely know you, does this happen to you guys often?" And we just sit there saying "It's okay, you're fine" but thinking in our heads "It's the spirit, this does happen a lot" haha so we gave her a Book of Mormon and told her to read a chapter and pray to ask God if this was something He wanted her to look into and then give us a call. It was awesome!! She is really spiritual and has great faith :) so we hope for the best! And then of course weekly planning finished our day off! 

Saturday we had to finish some weekly planning and then we tracted the majority of the day. One of the families in our ward, the Ketchems, who is the Filipino and the Japanese family, invited our investigators Maddie and Joel ( the really tough ones) to dinner for a Filipino dishh that night! And then come with us straight to stake conference that night! They agreed and came! Maddie went to the Philippines for a humanitarian trip for 11 weeks a couple years ago so her and Sister Ketchem really connected with that and they have befriended them and helped us teach them! Anyway, we had chicken adobo and pansit and lots of rice! :) Everything was so yummy and it really reminded me and gave me a glimpse of what my best friend in the Philippines is dealing with... ;) haha I learned how to eat with just a spoon and fork and no knife too. We had fun! so then we went to stake conference and it was really good except Maddie and Joel added 20 more questions onto the ones they already had..... Which isn't a bad thing. Questions aren't bad but they aren't feeling the spirit and receiving revelation!!! So we're still trying to help them with that for next time. 

Yesterday was a good sunday. We were fasting so that we could find more people to teach! Then we had stake conference and the talks were really good! Then we tracted and found another guy who invited us back over on Tuesday to teach him a little more. Little tender mercies like that is what keeps me going some days :) Then we had dinner with some members and did another member visit that night. I'm meeting more people in the ward and building relationships with them already and that makes me happy! 

This week I get to go on exchanges for the first time on Tuesday! so sadly, I don't get to go teach that one guy we met yesterday :/ but I'm excited for my first exchange! And this week is Thanksgiving! I'm all set for that as well, the members are so nice and we get fed very well here :) haha So I will be having a great Thanksgiving dinner and we plan to do more member visits. For our dinner messages at dinner appointments though, lately we've been sharing a part from "Christ" in the Bible dictionary and then having people tell why they are grateful for Christ and then committing them to bring Christ up in conversation to friends and family who aren't members of our church to just talk to them about Him. So I encourage y'all to do that as well, especially as we are reflecting why we are grateful for Him and all our our many blessings this Thanksgiving! :) So I hope you all can do that and I hope you all have a great thanksgiving! Love you all and I'm grateful for all the support :) 

Love, Sister Davenport 

So... me and sister Perrins found these shirts at WalMart... only in the South will you find these!! Haha they are called "Blessed Girl" and have spiritual quotes on them. Mine I personally love sooooo so much because it explains the South. Literally. ;)

11/17/2014 - In Which ShelbyPooh Has Her First Baptism

Dear Everyone,

What a week!! I feel like I say that every week :) haha But really it was a good week! And this email might not be as long cuz there isn't much to talk about but a lot at the same time.... ha This week we had been preparing our 11 year old investigator Lena and her family for her baptism on Saturday! We basically met with her to finish the lessons and prepare her every day this week. We also helped her mom, Sister Nilsson, making food and helping her so that she wouldn't be so stressed about this last minute baptism so that was good too :) 

On Tuesday, I went to my first Zone Training Meeting! It was cool to meet my whole zone, which is one of the biggest in the mission, and to see some of my MTC friends again! :) It basically took the whole morning but it was great and I learned a lot and we had a guest speaker, who was just a member of the Stake Council, give us a devotional and he was amazing!! I also at the last minute, was asked to sing in a little group of 4 missionaries for a musical number during the meeting and we sang "I Am His Daughter" and they asked me to harmonize cuz they heard that I sing haha and so I did! It was great :) Then we tracted and taught Lena again. It's also gotten very cold this week.... I thought I was coming to "HOT-lanta" but uh.... nope! :P Since it's humid here the cold goes straight to your bones, through your coat, gloves, everything. It's been intense and honestly I hate tracting in it. I already hated the cold in Utah but even though there is no snow here (yet......) I truly am hating the cold more and more. 

Wednesday was a typical day I guess. We had a little party for sister Perrins and the other two elders that live in the same apartment complex as us, just down the ways a bit, but we share the car and we work with them in the ward so anyway their names are Elder Hyatt and Elder Harrington. Their birthdays were all in November so the apartment manager who is not a member but we're friends with and hope that eventually we can teach her.... She put on a small birthday party for them and I got free pizza and birthday cake from that! :D haha then we tracted again, in the cold, and had dinner.... basically that was it for the excitement of the day. 

Thursday morning we volunteered at the food bank again! And it's pretty fun, the people are nice and we feel good doing it :) This thursday we won't be doing that though because I'll be going to my first Zone Conference!! Which seems exciting so I'll just have to wait and see! But that also takes up the majority of the day. Anyway, we went to go visit a recent convert, which I love doing too!! Just to check up on them and she was a massage therapist and has given massages to celebrities!! :O But she gave me a massage on my calves and it was wonderful :) She's also met a couple people from Vampire Diaries one time and totally told me where they film it, which is about 2 hours away...... I may or may not have freaked out a bit ;) But then we tracted again and that was the coldest day... :( it was rough and that's when the freeze warnings started. We taught Lena again and then later that night had another birthday party but this was put on by another recent convert named Phyllis, who I may have mentioned before, and some other members. Phyllis is so funny and awesome, I can't imagine my life not meeting her, she is a hoot but we love her :) 

Friday we start off with weekly planning of course... which is such a long process!! Haha but it's good and then went over to the Nilsson's to help with things again. Seriously, in the three weeks I've been here I've grown to love this family, especially this past week coming over to their house so often, and they are great! They are Swedish and Sis. Nilsson is the best cook and their kids are so sweet! So we taught Lena and helped sis. Nilsson cook that afternoon. then visited two more recent converts and just talked and shared a little message. then we had a relief society Enrichment activity that me and sis. Perrins got to go to because we had 2 of our investigators go!! :D Monica and Maddie both came and they loved it! Everyone was so welcoming and loving and they got to make some crafts and eat goodies! So we were so happy they got to go! Monica is still struggling with commitments but she came to church on Sunday after like 3 weeks and we are visiting with her tonight to get her back on track and hopefully we will feel like she is prepared to work towards a baptism date! Maddie and Joel are the newly married couple and we are going to try to get them to come to church even though they go to a different one every week, but it's getting hard because we feel like they aren't improving and just asking more questions! They need revelation.... like true revelation from Heavenly Father so they can feel SOMETHING. so we're trying to figure out how to give that to them. 

Saturday was my one month birthday!! :D Yay! Haha only 17 months to go :) But we taught Lena her last lesson and she was so excited and prepared! Her sister Helene who is 8 was getting baptized as well. We tracted a little before but then went to the chapel to fill up the font and get things set up. Oh also, I forgot to mention but Sister Perrins offered to play the piano for a musical number that sis Nilsson wanted to sing for the baptism and she mentioned that I sing and so Sister Nilsson wanted me to sing with her! so this whole week we were practicing that too :) We sang "Come Follow Me" and "Love One Another" as a duet, with me singing the alto part and her singing the soprano! It sounded really good! :) The baptism was so successful, we had such a great turn-out from the ward! Everyone is so supportive and caring, I love it! Everyone works as a ward and is great with the missionaries and so it was a full house! The ordinance was great, it was Bro. Nilsson's first time baptizing since he recently got baptized this last summer too so it was a sweet moment to baptize both his daughters. Then me and sister Perrins got to give a presentation as well while the girls were getting changed after the ordinance and a missionary couple from our mission came to support the baptism and we showed a clip from those missionary videos "The District" about the Robles Family (look it up, it's great and went well with the Nilsson's family circumstance also) and then just bore our testimonies and the Elder told us that it was wonderful and missionaries should do that more often and that he was going to tell President about what we did..... don't know what that means.... haha but it all worked out so well and it was a great night! 

Sunday was good too. Just a typical sunday but I finally got to go to a ward council meeting cuz we got the times mixed up for the last two weeks haha so that was good and then we tracted after church, had dinner and did a cute thanksgiving craft, and then visited a member's house to do some role plays. Which we still do all the time!! Even in the field! But it really helps a lot :) the holiday season is approaching so quickly and it'll be weird not spending it in Utah. but I'm so grateful for the people I've met here and the experiences I've already had and I'm excited to keep going on this journey :) the people of Georgia desperately need the gospel. Most of them are so close and are so religious, but they need the FULL truth. Which the Gospel of Jesus Christ has and I know that this church has been restored to the earth. My testimony is still tried every day but it's also growing in so many ways and is keeping me working harder and harder each day!! I love being a missionary :) Hope everything is well with everyone, I hope you all have a great week! Keep the faith and look for missionary opportunities every day! :) I love you all!! 

Sister Davenport 

Monday, November 10, 2014

11/10/2014 - In Which ShelbyPooh Learns About Biking and Tracting

Dearest people.....

What a week it has been!! I have been terrible with my journal writing.... I have found no time to do it, even before going to bed cuz I'll be exhausted and by the time we get settled and ready for bed it's already 10:30!! So I apologize now for not having many great details... :/ cuz I've just been going with what I have in my planner. But I hope it's still enough and that I'll be able to cover the most important things :) This week was the first week of the transfer and my first full week!! On Monday night, we went to go visit one of our progressing investigators named Monica. She's living with her Aunt who is a member but has cancer and isn't doing well :/ She really wants to be baptized and committed to that a while ago but we have been trying to still finish all the lessons but she's been busy and hasn't found time for us to do it and she never keeps her commitments or assignments!! So it's hard because that is part of the process... she needs to do the things we tell her so she can keep working towards baptism but she never does!! :( So it's frustrating and hard cuz you just want what is best for these people! But we're working on her. 

Tuesday was my first district meeting and there are two other missionaries who were in my district in the MTC who are in my district here so it was good to see them again! :) Then after we had lunch at the church and then went out tracting. When in doubt... Tract!! That's what my companion says... Which is still hard for me. Haha but I'm trying to learn to love it! Cuz we literally do it everyday. Then we went to a elderly couple's house to help them move, they are out of our ward boundaries but still in our stake and still want to go to the Suwanee Ward. But they are the Adams and Brother Adams is such a flirt!! Haha they're like in their 70's probably but he thinks the Sister Missionaries are just the greatest and always says we're gorgeous and is just a way funny guy! They really appreciated us helping them though :) Also, almost every day during the week we get fed by members. It's great because most of the time it's like a home cooked meal and these people fix yummy food!! haha i've been trying very hard to watch myself though.... but everyone also gives us lots of sweets!! Which is bad because sis. Perrins is trying to avoid sweets so she gives them to me cuz she knows I'll eat them.... ;) good thing, or bad thing? I might figure that out later. 

Wednesday we biked to a members house to do some service for her. Yeah.... this week I've probably biked like 20 miles. No joke. I'm learning to hate biking. Haha It's sooooo hilly here so my legs and my bottom have been so sore!! But I keep thinking to myself that I'm building my leg muscles up again. I don't know how much longer I can pretend to be okay with biking though :/ It's hard! Anyway so we biked to the Nilsson's house to help her with some service and I got to know her family because they are actually a part member family that we are working with. They have two adopted kids who are the two oldest and then two kids they had later. But the older girl named Lena, who's 11, has been wanting to get baptized for a long time! But we have to teach her the lessons and then since her other sister is 8 now we wanted them to get baptized together! And with their 13 year old Brother named Lukas but he's been having more trouble with the Elders teaching him. He doesn't want to get baptized because he doesn't want to lose that connection with his birth parents or something...? It's a little hard to understand. so after we helped at their house, we biked and tracted more then taught the activity day girls that night about the day in the life of a missionary!! Me and sis. Perrins took pictures and put them on cards and made it all cute for them to look at things that we do every day :) Then after that we met with a past investigator who hasn't been as interested but we're still trying to be her friend. Her name is Jacquie and she has a cute family! A husband and a little boy named Lawson :) But get this..... They met at DisneyWorld because guess what.... She was Belle!! As in Beauty and the Beast Belle!! Like she was a Disney Princess!!!! Ahhhhh!! Haha She's beautiful of course and meeting her husband was like a fairytale. Super cute. So we might meet with her again. 

Every Thursday we volunteer at a local food bank! We try to get like 2 or more hours of community service each week so we go there in the morning every thursday and the people are so nice and it's fun! Then after we went back over to the Nilsson's to teach Lena a lesson. And something cool is that this week she and her sister are actually getting baptized!! Ha so it's great cuz I'll be able to go to a baptism of someone I've actually taught, and will this week too before the baptism, but it'll be on my one month mark!! Haha so I thought that'll be a pretty good day :) her and her sister are getting baptized and their recently baptized father gets to do it!! So awesome!! Hopefully Lukas will get on date soon for his baptism :) Anyway then I can't really remember what else we did on Thursday except that night visited another member who hasn't been to church in a while. We went with an awesome lady in the ward named sister Willey, who is older but is a convert and seriously knows everything! Haha she is soooo wise and I admire her and she's such a nice lady!! :) Honestly though, everyone in the Suwanee Ward is either a convert or from Utah. Haha literally I'll say I'm from Utah and they'll ask where and I'll say Riverton and they'll all be like, "yeah I know where that is, I used to live in______" All the time. It happens with like every other member here. And plus, everyone is a BYU so I get along with a lot of families here ;) and you can totally tell who's a member and who's not here by the BYU stickers and mini vans. 

Friday was a GREAT day!! We actually have a new investigator named Katzney :) He's about 21 and in college but Sister Perrins met him at Walgreens cuz he works at the one near our apartment. And we are also over the YSA ward and working with them is great! The younger people are so nice and open to learning and respect us. So that's how Katzney is and this was the first time we both had ever met with him. As my trainer, Sis. Perrins really wanted me to take the lead on this lesson cuz we wanted to get to know him but also get the first lesson in there. He really knows his Bible, but didn't bash with  us, we were mostly just sharing what we believed. But It was awesome because since being a missionary I now have the first vision memorized. And so I was the one who kinda led into that lesson and then I got to tell him that and the spirit was really strong, even though we were in the middle of a park cuz we had to be in public to meet with him. but he accepted what we talked about and was really enthusiastic about meeting with us again!! :) It was awesome! then we did weekly planning after and tracted. After we had dinner with a family, we had another appointment that night. Every Friday night we try to meet with a progressing couple named Maddie and Joel. They are Baptist and have some MAJOR deep questions and are very logical. So we had a couple in our ward who are the Ketchem's come with us to our appointment. Brother Ketchem is half Japenese and Sister Ketchem was born and raised in the Philippines!! We've gotten to know them very well and I love them, they are great :) but our appointment with them went well, but we always leave their place with more questions. So it's like their progressing but we haven't invited them to be baptized cuz we haven't felt like they are ready yet until they feel better about some things. But the Ketchem's are going to keep coming with us, cuz it helps a lot to have someone who is a convert (sis Ketchem) and someone who knows so much I feel like (bro ketchem) about the gospel. Maddie and Joel are very nice people though! Pretty young and a newly wed couple! 

Saturday was kinda a wacky day. We had to go get my bike fixed cuz the gears wouldn't shift at all, hence I've been having so much trouble biking up the hills. haha Bro. Ketchem was so nice and took it to the shop to get it fixed while sister Ketchem took us out to lunch! then we tracted and had dinner with another great family!! People in this ward are so nice!! Also everyone in georgia has dogs. Like everyone. I'm in heaven. ;) And then yesterday was a good day at church and then we tracted and met with another family, had dinner and met with another lady. Anyways it's been a crazy week but an awesome one!! 

Btw my address is 2115 Breton Hunt Lane Suwanee Georgia 30024. You can send stuff straight to me which is great! :D And i'd love to receive pictures from all y'all! I miss Utah and everyone but I feel right at home here in Georgia too :) It literally feels like a forest everywhere I look but it's beautiful and getting kinda cold here. Missionary work is hard but it's so worth it, I can already tell. I have never had my testimony tried this hard ever, especially being in the Bible belt. But everyday at the end of the night or the beginning of my studies, I'm brought back to why this church is true and the Lord takes away my fears and my doubts. He's always there, just call on Him :) Have a great week everyone, until next week! Love y'all! ;) 

Love, Sister Davenport 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

11/3/2014 - In Which ShelbyPooh Arrives in Her First Area

Hello hello everyone!

Sooooo good to be on email and have a pday since I spent my last week's one flying on an airplane... haha But guess what?! I'm here in Georgia! :D before I get too ahead of myself though, I'll go back a little and tell about my last week in the MTC cuz it was a good one and some great and spiritual things happened. :) Basically after emailing for my first time on Tuesday, we did laundry and then every Tuesday night at the MTC is devotional night. So Elder Godoy from the 70 came and spoke and he was the one who spoke Portuguese during general conference but he spoke English to us obviously haha but he was so funny and inspiring! Our last lessons with our P.I. meaning "teacher who pretends to be an investigator" went well and it definitely prepared me for actually having lessons with real people. Being a Sister Training Leader me and sis Johns were in charge of getting the other sisters from the district coming in that week and giving them a tour and helping them kinda on Wednesday when they arrived so we did that... umm..... lets see... So also that week I was really having a hard time sleeping :/ I was starting to get those mini anxiety attacks at night again haha I'm such a wimp but it really prevented me from getting my sleep so I was exhausted. On Wednesday night I think I was trying to get to sleep but I kept having the impression to ask someone for a priesthood blessing. Well I ignored that impression cuz it was 12:00 in the morning haha so the next morning when I woke up I couldn't keep my eyes open. I was so tired from the past week not getting sleep but that morning I had another impression.

Basically I felt very strongly for one of the Elders in my district, Elder Hamrick, to give me a priesthood blessing. Now I had no idea why, nor do I think I'll ever know why, but I think for some reason it probably really helped him as much as it helped me in some way. I really believed that. So finally I confessed to the sisters in my district about what was going on, cuz I had kept it in for so long trying to suck it up haha but when I told them they all kind of had the same thoughts. We wanted each of the elders to give us each a priesthood blessing for specific reasons and things we were each going through and we thought it would really benefit the elders as well. So in our classroom it's just our district and we talked and seriously bonded so much and then they each gave us a blessing. Elder Hamrick's blessing for me was so wonderful and powerful. My testimony of priesthood blessings is still growing even though it's already been so strong for me, because he blessed me to get sleep and that it wouldn't get in the way of my mission and other wonderful things were brought up that I hadn't even mentioned that HE DID in the blessing. It was awesome. And seriously, ever since getting that blessing I have been sleeping with no problems. :) I've been getting right to sleep, I'm still tired all the time but that's normal ;) but I mean I truly believe that priesthood power is real. It has blessed me in so many ways and I was so grateful for Elder Hamrick to do that for me. And I think it blessed him as well :) we were all crying at the end of the night! It was a great night!

But anyway our last sunday was great with our branch and me and sister Johns got to sing a duet to "Be Still my Soul" for the sacrament musical number which was good! :) Then sunday nights are movie nights at the MTC so we ended up watching The Restoration. Monday was our last day and I think I made the best out of it. I miss the MTC but at the same time I felt ready to get out here. Packing and then having to wake up at 2:00 am was stressful though haha but everything at the airport went well and like I said before our whole district came to Georgia Atlanta North so that was cool having all my friends with me! Freakin..... right off the airplane though, we go and meet our Mission President, his wife, and his assistants, get our luggage, and then they explain to us that they were going to take us on this train thing and go in two groups and go talk to people on the train. Yeah. They handed us a Book of Mormon gave us some instructions/examples on what to say and off we went. In mission terms we call this "contacting" haha it was the scariest thing of my life. Everyone around me... was black. No racism intended but seriously, being the minority is weird. "Toto... I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." Yep. I've been having those moments about every ten minutes here in Georgia. Hahaha I talked to about two people on the train, and one I could barely understand what she was saying. It happens, even in the US!!!!!! AND IM ENGLISH SPEAKING!!

Anyway..... We rode the train to Lilburn to our mission home and spent the first night there. Sis. Bennion made a wonderful dinner and breakfast and we got to know where our first area and our companion would be! Which brings me to here :) Alright, so I am serving in the Suwanee area, and in the Suwanne Ward. It's pronounced Swanee... but people don't know how to spell I guess so they put the U in there. ;) My companion is Sister Perrins and she is from Vancouver Washington :) She's been out a year already and this is her first time training but she is wonderful! She's so nice and bubbly, like me :D and has been so patient and great with me and training me. We are a tracting mission so the first thing we did was tract haha literally for about a couple hours. It's weird knocking on doors, I never thought I would be at a position where I would be doing that everyday full time... it's weird haha so I have tracted about two hours every day since getting here. Crazy right?! We also get fed dinner every night by members here, which is why I think I've already gained weight haha I'm not sure and I'm still being careful and feel like I'm eating normally but... we'll see how it goes I guess ;) But the families here are sooooo nice and wonderful and welcoming and I love this area already!!

Seriously, it is beautiful here. Sooo green but the leaves are changing colors and I literally feel like I'm in a forest in a storybook. We are also car-sharing with some elders so I've already used my bike and it's great. I never thought I would picture myself biking down a road in Georgia with trees on both sides and leaves everywhere.... and the houses. HOLY MOLEY they are huge!!! And sis. Perrins said I haven't even seen the biggest ones yet!! :O But it is very hilly... like very hilly... and my body hurts from biking just for a day!!! :( Anyhoot, there is an older lady named Phyllis who is a recent convert that we have visited and she's hilarious she just doesn't know it. She says everything with a serious look on her face but she's funny so when you want to laugh it's hard cuz you feel like it might hurt her feelings cuz she doesn't laugh along.... hahaha Also every week we need to get in 2 hours of service so we have volunteered at a local food bank and will do that every week. Also there is a couple we are teaching named Maddie and Joel who are Christian/Baptists and ask a LOT of questions that are hard :/ we are working with them and want to invite them to be baptized, which I will be the one to do that btw, but they are definitely progressing! Um... our Halloween was good, we had to be in by 6 but we decorated cookies and spent the majority of our night doing weekly planning which takes about 3 hours... literally. it's a long process haha but it's okay.

This week has been so crazy, busy, fun, and unreal but it's been a blast all together. I love the people and the area, I know I will feel right at home here and that me and my companion will get along well :) Oh I have also been sick this whole first week in the field :P but im finally feeling better!! there's a lot of other little details and this email might not make a lot of sense, so I apologize, but it's almost time to go. :( And this is my second time emailing so I will get better I promise! haha I'm so glad I'm here, I couldn't picture myself anywhere else but serving the Lord at this time and being in Suwanee Georgia :)

Looking forward to hearing from you all again! I love you all and keep you in my prayers :) Keep looking for missionary opportunities everywhere, we are trying to work with the members a lot here!! the Lord is hastening his work!! Love you all! Until next week!

Love, Sister Davenport

Sunday, November 2, 2014

10/30/2014 - In Which ShelbyPooh Arrives Safely in the Hundred Acre Wood

Dear Brother and Sister Davenport,
Your daughter made it safely to Georgia.  She was in good spirits and happy to be here as we had training and sent her off with her new companion, Sister Perrins.  
This is a beautiful season in Georgia and she is in a wonderful mission!
 Sister Residori
Georgia Atlanta North Mission

10/27/2014 - In Which ShelbyPooh is Leaving On That Midnight Plane To Georgia

Dear family....
Tomorrow morning I leave for Georgia!!!! :D YIPEE!!!!! It's crazy how time has passed so quickly but I'm so excited to get out there!! Just a reminder, since I haven't heard from anyone still, that I will be calling from the airport tomorrow morning. I mentioned this in a letter I sent home, (you should've gotten two letters just fyi) but we have to be at the travel office at 3:30 in the morning and then head to the airport for our 7:10 am flight! So around 5:30 to 6:30 tomorrow morning I will be calling dad. and then if that doesn't work then i'll call mom but please please PLEASE be prepared because I would LOVE to talk to you guys before I leave!!... I think... hopefully it won't make me too homesick ;) but I would love that and I'm hoping it'll work. I bought a calling card thing so it might be a number you don't recognize but answer anyway cuz it's probably me!! Haha I love you guys so much, I miss home and my family, I really do, but I am so excited and ready to finally start my actual mission in Georgia!! The Church is true! I'll have to email more later cuz we've only had permission to write a little email about calling and leaving the MTC and stuff. But I don't know when my next pday will be either, possibly the next monday and by then I'll already be there a week! So there will be a lot of catching up to do but please be patient and hopefully I'll be able to send some pictures too :) I LOVE YOU!!! Be good and be safe. I still am waiting to hear from anyone too haha meaning letters... or emails... especially from family cuz I've gotten more from friends and others than my own family ;) ha I still love you though! Until next time!! 
Love, Sister Davenport

10/21/2014 - In Which ShelbyPooh Spends Her First Week in the Missionary Training Center

Hello everyone!

Wow! What a week it has been! My first week here has been amazing, tough, strengthening, tough, spiritual, tough, and did I mention tough? Haha Isn't it great to get emails though? Now you all (well my family) know how I felt about Pdays! ;) My P-day is tuesday but I only get one here at the MTC because next Tuesday I will be flying out to Georgia!! :D Crazy huh?! I have my itinerary and everything and we have to be at the travel office at 3:30 AM Tuesday morning!!!!! SOOOO EARLY!! But it's okay, I'm excited :) Well my companion is Sister Johns from Seattle Washington area and she's pretty great! We're really open with each other and she's fun but we're still having a hard time connecting with the spirit together and I've been getting irritated easily with some things... haha but I'll talk about that in a bit ;) So my first day was great!! I definitely think that the hardest part was leaving my family.... :( but once I got to my room and my classroom and met my district I felt very welcomed and like I belonged here! My district is ALL going to Georgia Atlanta North Mission :) We have bonded so well and it's awesome because seeing everyone grow here and then we'll be able to continue to watch everyone grow out in the field cuz we'll fly out and be there together!! So there's 4 Elders and 4 Sisters: Elder Oyler from Kaysville, UT; Elder Medina from Idaho; Elder Hamrick from Colorado; and Elder Patton who is from Kentucky but spent 14 years in Korea and I think was born there so he's Asian! Ha and then there's Sister Newman from Idaho; Sister Barnard from Seattle Washington area; and then my comp Sister Johns and then me! Our zone is awsome too, there's three other Elders coming to Georgia with us in the other district and we have an Austrailian in our zone named Elder West and he's so funny!! Haha Also we have another district coming here tomorrow and we'll have another sister from austrailia come in that district! It's cool cuz tomorrow me and sis. Johns get to be with her tonight cuz she comes in a day earlier and because we are the Sister Training Leaders for our zone and are in charge of the sisters :) so that's been exciting to already have a calling haha but it's been overwhelming and stressful too! But it's fine, the Lord has been good to me. 

So HOLY COW do I love wearing our Savior's name on our name tags!! :) I love being a missionary and the first two days I was on a spiritual high for sure!!! The first day we had an orientation about the MTC with the presidency and in a room filled with about 600 just got there THAT DAY, we all sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth", "Called to Serve", and "As Zion's Youth in Latter Days". The Spirit was SO strong it was incredible. Then by the second day, our district had bonded so well. We all shared our reasons as to why we came on our missions. It was powerful and everyone has a back story but it's so cool to see how the Lord has worked in our lives so that we could be here at this time and I truly believe that. There are no accidents, we are all here going to the same mission for a reason. I'm definitely one of the slower ones in my district though.... haha mentally and  getting ready in the mornings :/ There are some major habits I really need to break and work on but I am trying my hardest to be as obedient as I can! Exact obedience brings blessings!! I can see the growth and change in me every day and I know it will only progress. 

I sent a letter home too btw that I'm hoping you guys got :) So anyway by the third day, 2nd full day, we were already teaching! We have two teachers, one in the morning who is Sister Jenkins and she's great, and then one in the afternoon who is Brother Vogt (vote) and he's awesome! He's my favorite and is so funny!! But basically our teachers "role-play" as investigators. They act like someone they taught on their mission to make it seem more real. Sis. Johns and I had our first lesson on Friday and it was hard! We were both so nervous and so new to this but we were lead by the spirit and we are still teaching our "investigator" and we are doing well. In fact, our lesson yesterday was truly amazing, we both came out of our lesson with huge grins because we both felt the spirit so strongly, not just individually but as a companionship, and we could tell he felt the spirit as well. It's truly incredible being able to see that spirit in our teacher as an "investigator" even though he's acting, he still acts so well to portray this person. Then yesterday we started our TRC lesson, which is Training Resource Center, but basically these are hired actors to come to the MTC for us new missionaries to kind of practice on but it's still a lot of pressure and it feels so real! It really shows what it'll be like in the field. Me and my comp felt okay about our lesson but both agreed we didn't have that connection and the spirit wasn't there for both of us. My companion is great and I learn a lot from her but it's so hard adjusting to being around a person 24/7 and they kind of get on your nerves every once in a while. Haha but the Lord is teaching me how to be more humble and expressing outward instead of inward and just serving her so that we can work well together. 

I have to be honest though, Friday and Saturday I started to get kind of down. I was having a hard time and kept thinking about home and wasn't focused. I could see some distress coming and so I was getting irritated and didn't feel motivated to do anything. But then Sunday came around and WOW. Sacrament here with our zone and then Music and the Spoken Word at Relief Society and then there were meetings which were long haha oh and the temple walk! We got to go outside of the MTC grounds!! :D but THEN..... Chad Lewis, as in THE Chad Lewis, came and spoke at our devotional and the spirit was so strong and he lightened my mood and said things I needed to hear. And straight after that we have like movie time or something but it's just like another devotional to watch, and we watched The Character of Christ by David A. Bednar. Seriously.... watch it. I'm not joking. Try to look it up. It was giving at the MTC on christmas day a while ago... So I don't know if you will be able to find it somewhere but really.... I was crying so hard and it was sooooooo powerful and definitely a change in how I see things and a different way to try to become more like Christ. This perspective and that talk was truly inspiring. I love being a missionary!!! And times like that make me think that there is no where I'd rather be than here at the MTC. 

Yes, the food here is so good. But it's SO bad. Hahaha It has not been good to me ;) but it's delicious I think and there are so many options. And also I already have blisters on the heels of my feet and I got them the first day. Yeah, they've been a pain and haven't been healing because I am constantly wearing shoes that even though wouldn't be giving me blisters, but since I got them, my shoes have been constantly  rubbing them. :( So it's whatever, they'll heal eventually. Also Gym time is bomb. I love it and it releases so much stress and is just a good break :) 

Anyhoot, I am enjoying it here. I miss all you guys but I feel strongly this is where I need to be. I don't have everyone's email addresses and so send this to everyone you can think haha plus we only have an hour here and so I have to hurry. But the next time you'll hear from me I'll be in Georgia! and I don't know when that'll be haha but just be patient, I love you all and thank you for your emails :) Also I have to wait to upload pictures cuz we can't do it here apparently ha but I will try my best to get to everyone and reply back, it's just crazy how time passes so quickly! Love you all, have a great week, you are in my prayers :) 

Love, Sister Davenport